All I was told was that Rukmini Prakashini was 10, studying in Class VI at the Global Public School in Kochi and that she had just recently exhibited her designer collection at the Gold Souk Fashion Week in Kochi. But nothing prepared this reporter for the sight of a slight girl dressed in a check shirt and jeans walking in beside her father. The only thing missing was a doll clutched to her chest.
But looks can be deceptive and though Rukmini speaks very little, her talent, drive and passion speak volumes. While children of her age have trouble putting an outfit together, Rukmini effortlessly uses paper, scissors and tape to create mind-blowing yet eloquent outfits fit for a princess and she exhibited 12 such creations at the recent fashion week.
Rukmini’s passion for fashion is no surprise to all those who know her. Her mother Prasanthi Prabhakar and father Beshine Natarajan run the Usha Fashion Designing Institute in Kochi. Obviously her early exposure to the world of fabrics, colours and patterns elicited a keen curiosity in the child. Her father says, “She has accompanied us when we purchase clothes and unknown to us, she developed a keen eye for fabric details and materials. She would talk to the shopkeepers about the kind of fabrics, designs and prints.” Rukmini narrates the rest, “I started going for drawing classes from class I and used to draw dress patterns. I also went through photos on the Internet and then started designing patterns on my own. My mother taught me stitching.”
While Rukmini had the creative part down to a T, it was her parents who helped her with the production. Rukmini still vividly recalls details of her first creation, “It was a mermaid dress I designed when I was in Class II.”
Then on, her creative juices churned overtime and she came up with some flattering designs on paper. The Fashion Week was the icing on the cake, “I exhibited 12 designs which had lehengas, gowns and Western wear. The materials used were net, floral prints, chiffon and satin and I walked with the models at the end of the round.” Pausing for a moment, she shyly adds, “I take time to think of the designs and draw them and after that, the colours and fabrics come naturally to me.”
So who is Rukmini’s inspiration? There is no pause there and her eyes light up as the names roll out, “Karl Lagerfeld for his Western style and Manish Malhotra for his Indian designs.” And how does she manage her studies and her creative pursuit? Her father answers, “She does not have any homework to do; so she balances both admirably. If at all she has to study, she does it in the morning and we do not put any undue pressure on her to study.”
Before ending, Rukmini speaks of her biggest dream, “I want to go to Paris to learn fashion designing.” Going by her talent that day won’t be too far.